(Reuters) - Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers said his team were learning to be ruthless after Friday’s record-breaking 9-0 Premier League win over Southampton at St Mary’s Stadium.
It was the biggest victory on the road in English top-flight history and equalled the Premier League record win, home or away, as Leicester ran riot on the south-coast helped by hat-tricks from strikers Ayoze Perez and Jamie Vardy.
Southampton lost Ryan Bertrand to a red card after 12 minutes, by which time they were already a goal down, and could not cope with the speed and accuracy of Leicester.
The Foxes, who won the title after starting as 5,000-1 outsiders in 2016, moved up to second in the Premier League, five points behind leaders Liverpool who have a game in hand.
Leading 5-0 at halftime, Rodgers urged his players to keep chasing goals to show they were a “top team”.
“We said at halftime, keep your speed in the game and we have to punish them,” Rodgers told Sky Sports. “It is tough for Ralph (Hasenhuettl, Southampton manager) but we have to do our job and score as many goals as we can.
“The game is 0-0 at halftime, we said. This is part of our education, we have to come out of the ‘boy zone’ and play like a man and respect the game. They are very talented and learning to be ruthless.
“We believe in our work, believe we can push over the course of the season. Our mentality is how we work every day. The players want to get better and improve.”
Austrian Hasenhuttl accepted responsibility for the defeat, but questioned his players’ desire to compete with Leicester.
“The performance was a disaster, and I have to apologies and take 100% responsibility,” he told the BBC. “I’ve never seen a team act like this, there was no fight for anything.
“It was horrible to watch and everyone who stayed to watch is really a fan of this football club. Leicester were in every part of the game better than us.”
Hasenhuettl said it was now up to him to rally the players ahead of a League Cup fourth round trip to holders Manchester City on Tuesday.
“I’m a proud man but the way we played today is not the way I want to see my team play. We must get our heads up and that is my job in the next few days.
“We all must to do everything to pull this back.”
Reporting by Nick Said; editing by Ken Ferris